Cavaliers vs Blazers – NBA Pick for March 15th
We’ve got about exactly a month to go in the NBA regular season, and very little has been settled as of yet. There are still a number of teams jockeying for draft position, while others are still in the playoff hunt. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers look assured of making the playoffs, but we have no idea where either team will be seeded.
Heading into Thursday’s action, the Blazers are third in the West and the Cavs are fourth in the East. Portland is too far behind to finish any higher than third, but they’re also only 3.5 games up on the Spurs, who are currently ninth. The Cavs can’t go higher than third, either, but they’re just a half-game adrift of Indiana for that No. 3 spot.
Betting on the NBA at this point in the season can be tricky, but it’s best to target a game featuring teams that still have something to play for. Obviously, that’s the case here tonight.
Portland is arguably the league’s hottest team at this point. They’ve won 10 consecutive games with their last loss coming over a month ago against Utah. They haven’t had an easy schedule, either. The Blazers have wins over the Warriors (twice), Wolves, Thunder, Heat, Jazz and Lakers during the streak.
Damian Lillard’s red-hot shooting continued in the last game against Miami. Dame finished with a game-high 32 points on blazing (no pun intended) 7-14 shooting from three-point range. Portland also got a massive game out of Jusuf Nurkic, who tortured Bam Adebayo and company to the tune of 27 points and 16 rebounds.
Nurkic’s minutes have been all over the map, and he hasn’t quite been as consistent as the Blazers had hoped. Still, when Terry Stotts trusts him to play heavy minutes, he has a way of delivering. Nurkic will have a huge size advantage tonight against the undermanned Cleveland frontline. Larry Nance Jr. is a fine player, but he’s not strong or tall enough to bully a guy like Nurkic on the block.
The Cavs picked up an easy win over the Suns last time out, but they’ve been struggling in general of late. LeBron and co. endured back-to-back losses to the Clippers and Lakers, and they haven’t quite taken off the way some expected after overhauling the roster at the trade deadline.
Kevin Love’s eventual return will obviously help, but for now LeBron is having to carry the team. James put up his 14th triple-double of the season against Phoenix, finishing with an easy 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in 33 minutes of action.
These 2 teams last met in Cleveland back on January 2, and the Cavs picked up a smooth 127-110 victory. Of course, a lot has changed since then. Isaiah Thomas made his Cavs debut in that game, with Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye also logging minutes. None of those guys will play for the Cavs tonight, and Thompson is the only player even still on the roster
You can be sure Lillard and the Blazers remember that game. Lillard seems to be the vengeful type, and he’ll get up for a huge game with LeBron coming into his barn. Portland’s winning streak certainly won’t last forever, but I think they run it to 11 here tonight.
Portland -5 ½ looks a little low for my tastes, so I like the Blazers to cover.
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